I am beginning to research a persona name for myself. I'm going for one of
the ubiquitous 16th century Scottish Highland/Island women (at least for my
first persona!), so I'm looking for a 16th century Scottish Gaelic name.
I'd like to find a less common sort of name (in the context of frequency in
the SCA, not in period), but that isn't exactly vital (or period, for that
Anyway, I have stumbled across "Eafric" or "Effric", which I found in
Black's _Surnames of Scotland_ (under the heading "Africa"). Other 16th
century (Latinized and/or Scotsisized) spellings listed are "Affrica",
"Effreta" (though my guess is that is a misreading for "Effreca"), and
"Africk". "Eafric" and "Effric" are found in the Book of the Dean of
Lismore, for Eafric neyn Corgitill, a woman who wrote a poem about 1470.
("Effric" is also found in the 16th century). Black also says "The name
appears to have been originally that of a river goddess, 'Afraig'
('Aithbrecc', mod. Gaelic 'Aithbreac', "somewhat speckled"), the goddess of
the (river-)ford. The name survived into the eighteenth century as Effrick
= 'Oighrig', and absurdly Englished 'Euphemia'!"
I have several questions that I hope you all may be able to help me with:
1. Do you know of others in the SCA who have this name? If so, how common
2. What would be the Common Classical Gaelic (ie, literary Gaelic of
Ireland and Scotland of about 12th to 17th century) spelling of this name?
Black isn't too clear about when the Gaelic spellings he gives are for. I
don't need for this to be documentable, as I would register it under the
Effric spelling, but I would like to know the period Gaelic spelling in
case my name should ever need to appear in a Gaelic document! [I'm not up
on Early and Middle Irish, and the libraries copy of the Irish names book
is currently on loan to someone else and my copy is in the USA! I don't
even know if it would be of any use...] Feel free to just point me at
sources to answer this one :-) I can recall (eventually) the Irish names
book if that would help me!
3. From the Book of the Dean of Lismore's spellings, I know how to
pronounce the name. What I don't know is how this is achieved from the
Gaelic spellings Black gives. How would 'Aithbrecc' and 'Aithbreac' come
out sounding like "Eafric"? Does this mean that the 'b' is actually
lenited? Does anyone have a good recommendation for a source that will
explain Early Irish, or preferably Middle Irish orthography and
pronunciation rules? (I can handle IPA and formal phonetic descriptions, if
that helps...) I suppose I really need to discover the reasonable 16th
century Gaelic spelling before I twist myself too much into knots on this
question :-) [I have the translation of Thurneysen's Grammar of Old Irish,
but I'm finding him clear as mud to understand...]
4. From a purely aesthetic point of view, what do y'all think of
Eafric/Effric as a name? Do you think it's pretty? :-)
5. If you _don't_ think it's a pretty name, please be on the lookout for
pretty but not frequently used in the SCA late period Scottish Gaelic names
for me :-) Unpronouncability is not an obstacle!
Sharon Krossa, possibly to be Effric...
skro...@svpal.org (permanent) -or- s.kro...@aberdeen.ac.uk (until June 1996)